A look at modern workplace design

Google's Chicago headquarters
Employees at Google's Chicago headquarters March 20, 2012.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Workspace design is more than just a pretty picture, new paint, updated desks or moving to a new energy-efficient building. It's about accommodating the way we work and is a reflection of an organization's culture.

Corner offices and mahogany desks reflected a culture of the past where your status in an organization was reflected in your office space. Open designs and natural lighting now reflect a culture of collaboration and adaptation. How is the modern workspace designed to accommodate worker needs, stimulate creativity and drive productivity goals?

The New York Times recently looked at new office designs, including those by NBBJ in Seattle:

"These are the main concepts: Buzz -- conversational noise and commotion -- is good. Private offices and expressions of hierarchy are of debatable value. Less space per worker may be inevitable for cost-effectiveness, but it can enhance the working environment, not degrade it. Daylight, lots of it, is indispensable. Chance encounters yield creative energy. And mobility is essential.

This isn't a suddenly exploding trend. NBBJ's research has found that two-thirds of American office space is now configured in some sort of open arrangement. But even as these designs save employers space and money, they can make office workers feel like so many cattle. So how to humanize the setting?"

Steve McConnell, managing partner at NBBJ Architects, will join The Daily Circuit Wednesday to talk about the latest in workplace design. Diane Stegmeier, founder of Stegmeir Consulting, will also join the discussion.

KERRI'S TAKEAWAY

People like working in open spaces, but a lot of them are still stuck working in cube farms.

Your support makes a difference.

MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.